Walter Colpeper

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ChartsAncestors of Edward Ambrose Cooke
Walter Colpeper, son of Sir Thomas Colpeper, Knt. and Joyce (…), was born after 1378.1 He died in 1462,1 and was buried at Goudhurst, Kent, England.1

Walter married Agnes Roper, daughter of Edmund Roper.1

Of the sons of Sir Thomas Colepeper, Walter succeeded to all the estates except Exton on the death of his half-brother, Sir John, and was the only one to leave sons.

Walter Colepeper, who continued the line, married Agnes, the daughter of Edmund Roper, of St. Dunstans, Canterbury, and is so described on her tombstone at Goudhurst. She was also the widow of John, son of John de Bedgebury, a fact not mentioned in the pedigrees recorded in the Visitations, but which is amply evidenced by an undated Chancery Procceding, temp. Hen. VI., where Walter Coulpepir and Agneis, his wife, late the wife of John, son of John de Beggebury and Thomas Chaundeler, chaplain, appear as plaintiffs in a dispute relating to property in Goudhurst, Cranbrook and Hawkhurst, which John, son of Roger de Beggebury, left to pay for two chaplains to sing masses for his soul and for that of Johanna, his wife. By this marriage Walter Colepeper had, with two daughters--Margaret, married to Alexander Clifford, and Elizabeth, married to John Hardes, of Hardes, co. Kent--three sons, Richard, John and Nicholas. Agnes, his wife, predeceased him on the 2nd December, 1457, and was buried at Goudhurst, and Walter himself died on the 24th November, 1462, and was also buried at Goudhurst.

Although the pedigree given above differs in many respects from those recorded in the Visitation, it is substantiated not only by many Inquisitions, Deeds and Grants, but also by a suit entered on membrane 484 of the De Banco Roll, Hilary, 4 Edward IV.

This suit has reference to the fine levied in 1320, the John at the head of the pedigree being the son of Sir Thomas and Margery, and the plaintiffs, John, Richard and Nicholas Colepeper, claiming one quarter of these lands against Sir John Fogge, according to the customs of gavelkind, in right of their father Walter.

Although Richard is entered in the Visitation in Kent, in 1619, as Walter Colepeper's eldest son, this was not the case, as Sir John, as the eldest son, inherited Hardreshull, co. Warwick, Bayhall, co. Kent, and Wigsell, co. Sussex. It appears also from the same Visitation that this Sir John married Agnes, daughter of John Bedgebury, but no mention whatever is there made of the undoubted fact that some time before 1460 he was the husband of Agnes Gainsford, which is clearly proved by the Proceedings in Chancery relating to the abduction of the two Wakehurst heiresses by Sir John's brothers, Richard and Nicholas, where it is expressly stated that a sister of John and William Gainsford was wedded to John Culpepyr, and later on in the same suit mention is made of John Culpeper and Agnes, his wife. The marriage is also alluded to in De Banco Roll, Trin., 5 Edward IV., m. 118d, and it explains the mention of Ottewell and George Gainsford (grandsons of the above John Gainsford, who married Anne Wakehurst, aunt of the co-heiresses, and sons of Sir John Gainsford, by Anne, daughter of Ottewell Worsley), as cousins in the will Walter Colepeper, of Calais, 1514--1516.

The question arises, therefore, as to whether the record of Sir John's marriage with Agnes Bedgebury is not due to a mistake on the part of the heralds. In their pedigree they certainly omit these two important facts, viz., that before 1460 Sir John was the husband of Agnes Gainsford, and also that his father Walter's wife, of the same Christian name, was the widow of John Bedgebury. It seems therefore not improbable that these two marriages have been confused; such, indeed, must have been the case unless Sir John was twice married, and of this the Visitation affords no evidence whatever. Sir John Colepeper died 22nd December, 1480, and was buried at Goudherst.

At the time of their check at the hands of Edward II, the Culpepers seem to have recently inaugurated their characteristic practice of land acquisition by the time honored expedient of marrying heiresses. It was from their first manor so acquired, that of Bayhall in the Kentish parish of Pembury on the southern border of the weald, that they spread, as Hasted remarks, 'over the whole face of the county' of Kent; and, we may add, eventually of adjacent Sussex as well.

In this process, the Walter Culpeper who fought at Agincourt, being of the seventh recorded generation of his family, put his roots in the ground a few miles southeast of Bayhall. About 1425 he married the widow of the last Bedgebury of Bedgebury in Goudhurst and was buried with that family in Goudhurst church. His tomb described him as 'arm. filius Thorne Culpeper militis... obiit 24 November 1462' (Weever, Antient Funeral Monuments, 1767 ed., p. 69); which identifies him genealogically as the Walter, son of Thomas, who himself left sons, John, Richard and Nicholas, as rehearsed in DeBanco Roll, 4 Edw. IV, Hilary Term, membrane 484.2,3


Agnes Roper d. 2 Dec 1457
This person was last edited on23 Dec 2012


  1. [S1912] F. W. T. Atree and J. H. L. Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers," Sussex Archaelological Collections 47 (1904): 47-81 and 48 (1905): 65-98, at chart facing 56, further cited as Attree and Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers."
  2. [S1912] Attree and Booker, "The Sussex Colepepers," 57-58.
  3. [S1913] Culpepper Family Tree, online, "Walter Culpeper of Goudhurst, Bayhall & Hardreshull" at, accessed Dec 2012. Hereinafter cited as Culpepper Family Tree.